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  • Writer's pictureNicole Leonetti

Pesto Recipe

I just adore pesto!  It is so simple, yet so perfect - super easy to make, but versatile in its uses.  Most often, you will see it with pasta, but you can also slather it on a sandwich, serve it with chicken, or just eat it by the spoonful if you don’t mind a bit of garlic breath.  Pesto originated in Genoa many moons ago and has not missed a beat since.  Traditionally, it was made with a mortar & pestle… and while that is charming, our recipe uses a food processor.  My mom gave me her pesto “recipe” years ago while being baffled by the request.  “What recipe? You just make pesto!” Apparently, it was supposed to be something I inherently knew how to do, but after some prodding, she did give me the list of ingredients.  So basically, my pesto always comes out a little different depending on my mood – however, for this recipe, we tried to get you as close to our favorite version as possible.  Enjoy! 


-        1.5 cups Fresh Basil Leaves (packed)

-        3 tablespoons Fresh Parsley

-        ½ cup Freshly Grated Parmigiano Reggiano (we’ve also been known to throw in some

Pecorino Romano if the mood strikes)

-        2 tablespoons Pine Nuts, lightly toasted

-        4 cloves Garlic, peeled

-        Juice of half a Lemon (optional)

-        1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

-        Salt & Black Pepper

-        1lb Pasta (I like Rigatoni or Farfalle for this, but use whatever you love)



-        Bring a large pot of water to a boil (salt as you see fit)

-        In a food processor, combine the Basil, Parsley, a pinch of Salt and a lot of Pepper

-        Process for a few seconds

-        Add Cheese, Pine Nuts, Garlic to food processor

-        While the food processer is running, slowly add the Olive Oil in a steady stream

-        Add the Lemon Juice and additional Salt & Pepper to taste

-        Cook Pasta according to package directions, until al dente (reserve ½ cup of the pasta water)

-        Drain Pasta and put it back in the pot

-        Pour the Pesto Sauce into the Pasta

-        Add a bit of the reserved cooking liquid

-        Stir, Stir, Stir

-        Serve Pasta in nice plates or bowls

-        Garnish with Fresh Basil and Pine Nuts

-        Serve with extra grated Parmigiano Reggiano


My favorite wine pairing with Pesto is a nice Vermentino.  The bright acidity of Vermentino brings out the flavors of the pesto.  I recently enjoyed a heaping bowl of pesto pasta with a Vermentino from Bolgheri, which is on the west coast of Tuscany.  It was Tenuta Guado al Tasso from the Antinori Family and drinking it along with the pasta transported me back to Italy.

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